Chris Fraser Has A Brilliant Mind

There is something about light emanating through a slit in a surface that just blows my mind.  As suggestive as that comment is, I ensure you it is not meant for that kind of thought, even though I know about half of you out there immediately went there.  What you’re seeing above is the genius of Chris Fraser, a light artist from San Francisco.  His work is definitely pretty awesome — this particular case above is a “line drawing” of his from Oakland, CA.  The one below is called Points, Lines, Planes from the Performance Art Institute:

Chris’ work is like a crazy slit spectroscope of whatever light source is in front of it — like in these below, he did them as on-site pieces of work, creating something magical at a given day and time, never repeatable again.  You have to see more of Chris’ work:

Excellent, and beautiful.  I have got to see some of this stuff up-close and personal.

PLEASE check out Chris Fraser’s portfolio site and his Experiments on Flickr — VERY cool stuff!

This is my Chris Fraser-esque work for the day, a la 2007:

light leaking through the main rag...

Thanks to Lost in e Minor and We Waste Time!

Kumi Yamashita’s Unbelievably Amazing Shadow People

For some reason, when I saw these images for the first time a few hours ago, the first thought that popped into my head was Ron Burgundy saying “by the beard of Zeus!”  These pieces below are just outstanding to me.  Kumi Yamashita has created many of these “shadow works” before – she is absolutely brilliant at painting with darkness.

Check these out – you have to see her work.  You have to see it.  You also have to check out Kumi’s portfolio.  Kumi, you blew me away.



City View:




That one is just freaky!  I love it!

A commenter left an image on the original poster’s site (thanks, My Modern Met!) with another very striking image, created by Kumi, too:


Thanks, Nicola Andrews, for bringing this to my attention!!!

Siemens Superstar – A Wind Turbine-Sized LED Display

Super company Siemens (they’re the parent company of OSRAM) installed a ton of high-power LED modules onto a wind turbine located next to the A9 Autobahn highway at Christmas time.  In conjunction with multimedia artist Michael Pendry, Siemens installed 9,000 OSRAM LEDs onto the blades of the wind turbine.  You could see the installation (it was 70 meters wide, or almost 230 feet) from almost 20 miles away.  All of the display was powered by the wind turbine, which is extra awesome.

The installation was up for the Global Climate Conference in Munich, and stayed up until January 6, 2010.  You have to see the video and images I posted below.  At the very bottom, I posted the press release.  Check it out!

Images from the Siemens Press Site:

The press release from Siemens:

Quite a few people wondered if it would ever function. Yet right on time for the first Advent Sunday it is obvious to all: But still it moves! Siemens — together with multimedia artist Michael Pendry — has lighted up the world’s biggest revolving Christmas star. The lighting installation can be seen throughout December at the northern gateway to Munich — beginning at dusk every evening. “The Siemens Superstar is a pioneering technological project and an important symbol for the Global Climate Conference in Copenhagen. Green innovations are lighting our way to a better future,” said Siemens President and CEO Peter Löscher. “Munich has a new landmark for the Christmas season. It stands for renewable energies and energy efficiency — and these are also important issues for Munich. By 2025, we want Munich to be the world’s first city to meet all its energy requirements from renewable sources,” noted Munich’s Mayor Christian Ude enthusiastically. “I like to take art outside the narrow confines of museums,” explained lighting artist Michael Pendry.

Siemens developed and completed the unique and pioneering technological project together with Munich multimedia artist Michael Pendry over the past twelve months. The lighting installation consists of 9,000 Siemens Osram light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that are as bright as around 20,000 Christmas candles. Yet the entire installation uses only as much electricity as a hair dryer or a water kettle. In good weather, the art object can be seen for 30 kilometers. The span of the world’s biggest revolving Christmas star is nearly 70 meters — as wide as a soccer field.

Nearly 400 meters of power cables were laid for installation — a length that would reach over the top of the Eifel Tower. The lighting installation adds 100 kilos to each rotor blade. The LEDs are fastened to the wind turbine blades with superglue used in space, since under windy conditions the LEDs are subject to forces up to 20 G, or more than three times the g-force experienced by an astronaut during a rocket launch. Just a few days ago, TÃœV SÃœD — the technical service corporation responsible for inspecting and testing technical installations — gave its final approval to the installation. Munich residents, motorists and airplane passengers can be assured everything is in order.

Because of the wind turbine’s prominent location next to the A9 autobahn — a main traffic artery not far from the airport and used by well over 150,000 motorists a day — it was considered to be ideal for the lighting installation from the very beginning. In the fall of 2008, representatives of Siemens and Munich multimedia artist first discussed the idea of creating a shining symbol for green technologies and sustainability on the eve of the Global Climate Conference in Copenhagen. And what better place to demonstrate the sustainable use of electricity than a wind turbine? The operator of the wind turbine, Stadtwerke München (Munich City Utilities), offered its full support for the project from the very beginning.

In the following months, the idea slowly became reality. At first, the focus was on the project’s technical feasibility. In the spring of 2009, a handful of experts in various disciplines such as wind energy, aerodynamics, lighting and adhesives got together to sketch out all aspects necessary for realizing the project. Answers had to be found for all key issues: How should the LEDs be arranged to have the least possible impact on the wind turbine’s aerodynamics? Which type of LED should be used? Which adhesives were most effective for securing the LEDs in every type of weather?

Late in the summer, the wind energy experts completed their computer simulation analyses on the effects of the installation on the rotor aerodynamics. At this point, tests were begun under real conditions: In wind tunnel tests at the Technical University Berlin, over 15 different configurations of LED models, lighting arrangements and cable routing were analyzed until optimal conditions were found. Tests showed that the LED installation had only a minimal effect on the wind turbine’s performance.

Yet even after the wind tunnel tests were completed late in the summer, all hurdles still hadn’t been taken. Approval from all relevant authorities had to be obtained. And last but not least, the lighting installation had to be attached in only two weeks. 30 technicians worked day and night to make the Siemens Superstar shine. Programming the lighting animation alone took two full days. The lights are coordinated in real time with the various strengths of the wind and speed of the wind turbine itself. A technical masterpiece!

Truly excellent.

Tel Aviv Tunnels, Meet Bar & Shay

Israel’s second largest city Tel Aviv has a series of underground walking tunnels that were a great place for artists Bar & Shay to unleash their latest work.  The artists altered the public lighting  in the tunnels to something a little more colorful.  From Wooster Collective, the tunnels with their normal lighting:

tel aviv tunnel

Now, the Bar & Shay alterations, which they stated were inspired by Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz:

bar and shay tel aviv

tel aviv bar and shay

Not a lot of info is available about this installation (yet), but the images are stunning!  This makes me want to start altering stuff around here!

Orest Tataryn’s Lux Morpheme

Light sculptor Orest Tataryn has created an installation called Lux Morpheme – an installation that uses black light to reveal color in the work.  Orest has a few mouth-blown neon black light tubes that pulse every couple of seconds to pop color.  Orest has also designed into the work a series of coin-shaped landscapes that are vibrant with the ultraviolet light.



A detail of one of Orest’s “landscape coins”


Thanks, MocoLoco!

Warren Muller’s Found Junk and Light


Okay, maybe junk is a little excessive, maybe not.  This is a bit of a departure from what I’ve been seeing lately – a collection of “found objects” that are mixed with some light, creating these sculptures of mass stare-ability.

Stare-ability?  Wow, I guess I’m also making up words today.

A description from Warren Muller’s website:

With an enviable dexterity, Luminary Warren Muller creates fantastic lighting sculptures from found, recycled, and salvaged objects. His novel approach to these cast-aside items results in work at home in environments both modern and traditional. Recent pieces are mostly by commission and often incorporates existing chandeliers and/or the collective tchochtkes of his clients.

Check out these pieces.  Maybe you’ll get a tickle in your collective tchochtkes out of this stuff.  Warren’s company is called Bahdeebahdu, which translates into “you give me, I’ll give you.”  Well, that vehicle chandelier?  You give Warren about $200,000 for that.  It is interesting work, though!




Thanks, Cool Hunting!

Toyo Ito and Takram Design Engineering’s “Furin” Wind Chimes


I just discovered this beautiful project – it’s no longer installed, as it was on display July 28, 2008 through August 22, 2008.  Toyo Ito and Associates Architects and Takram Design Engineering created this interactive exhibit with 280 glass chimes.  Here’s some info on the project:

On a grid of equilateral triangles, we hung a total of 280 glass wind chimes from the ceiling at varying heights to represent the undulation of a wave. When you walk underneath the wind chime, not only does it ring, but its LED also alights like a firefly. The wind chimes nearer to the ceiling ring in higher tones, and those hung lower in lower tones together offering 10 degrees of tonal expression. And it feels as though you are walking inside a large interactive instrument. Additionally, the wind chimes are networked together, so that the sound and light spreads to adjacent wind chimes like ripples in the water. This network system was based on the idea of behavior we observe among certain animals in nature that form groups.

No matter what I say about this, nothing is going to top the videos.  Check them out.

Thanks, DesignBoom!

Primal Source at Santa Monica’s Glow 08

primalsource3 primalsource-3

Santa Monica city government and the Santa Monica Arts Foundation produced an even in Summer 2008 called Glow 08 – it was an evening to morning event featuring music, light, and art installations and projects.  From the website and other articles I’ve read, it was pretty fantastic.  One of the projects I ran across was a HUGE water screen with projections on it “governed” by the excitement of the crowd – depending on how the crowd responded to the installation, it would process video visualizations accordingly.  How cool is that?!

The installation was named “Primal Source,” and was created by Usman Haque of Haque Design and Research.  There’s a small bit of background information at the project website.  From that site:

Specially commissioned by the City of Santa Monica, California, for Glow 08, Primal Source was an all-night performance/installation brought to life through the active participation of festival-goers (estimated at approx. 200,000 over the course of the night).

Located on the beach near the Pier in an area that had been specifically landscaped over the course of several days, and making use of a large-scale outdoor waterscreen/mist projection system, the mirage-like installation glowed with colours and ebullient patterns created in response to the competing and collaborative voices, music and screams of people nearby.

Responding to sounds emanating from the crowd, the system’s modes changed every few minutes depending on how active the crowd participation was (more quickly when there was more noise). Each mode responded in a slightly different way to the individual voices and sounds picked up by 8 microphones distributed towards the front.

Some modes created “creatures” whose colour, shape and movement followed the frequency and amplitude dynamics of individual syllables and sentences picked up; other modes responded to wider collective phenomena, e.g. distorting a grid in response to the crowd volume, or creating a rush of wind through a wheat-field landscape.

Haque Design‘s specialization statement is pretty excellent – check it out:

Haque Design and Research specialises in the design and research of interactive architecture systems. Architecture is no longer considered something static and immutable; instead it is seen as dynamic, responsive and conversant. Our projects explore some of this territory.

Also check out the Processing and Pure Data websites, both products used in the creation and production of the installation.  Processing is an open source language that processes images, animations, and interaction – and Pure Data is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing.  Both of these open source products are free.  Yes, free.


Primal Source (video documentation) from haque d+r on Vimeo.

Thanks, Interactive Architecture!

ENESS’ LightScraper

I just read two articles pointing me to the website of ENESS – it’s an Australian design firm specializing in interactive art installations.  For this year’s Rainbow Serpent Festival, ENESS created the LightScraper – a pyramidal, video, sound, and light masterpiece that gives the beholder a unique perspective on the art.

From the video on YouTube:

The LightScraper is a towering vortex of visuals and sound feeding off its surroundings. Featuring real-time 3D graphics and a human motion tracking system, the LightScraper explores new forms of engagement with technology and ultimately each other, the closer we go the higher the glow, enjoy.

ENESS’ site also has some description:

The LightScraper is a custom built aluminium structure, fabricated with a layer or semi translucent mesh. The structure can be easily erected in various  compositions in an outdoor or indoor setting.  A single computer and two projectors are use to bring the sculptures visuals to life. The LightScraper also acts as a giant musical instrument, people’s location influence the melodies emitting from the sculpture.  Visitor’s position is tracked via an infrared camera mounted at the peak of the structure, and transposed into musical notes, the result is ever-changing melodies and visual delight. Like most of our work this one has to be experienced firsthand, perhaps we can build one in your home town.




Thanks, NotCot and PSFK!

Paris LED Installation Turns Human Activity Into Light

What you’re looking at above is an LED installation in Paris that interacts with human “signal” – mobile phone signals, people walking and cars driving, and interprets these datum into motion and light.  The article from LEDs Mag talk about the installation, “fLUX.”  From the article:

The installation was located on the banks of the Saint-Denis canal in the area of the Saint-Denis train station (a northern region of Paris), used by an average 60,000 commuters each day.

The installation consists of a network of 32 rotating and luminous panels of 3 meter-high and 60 centimetres wide, placed every 3 meters to form a kinetic wall. The panels rotate around their vertical axis, and have a black reflective surface on one side, the other being plain mat white. Their rotation is controlled by microprocessors, allowing to determine precisely the rotation speed and angle, while their networking allows to synchronise the movement of the 32 panels.

There were two companies that worked to design and give life to fLUX -A Belgian artist collective called LAb[au] and produced by a French art organization Synesthesie.  Have you seen this installation?  Got any pictures?  Post in the comments!